At the moment, the lackasidical attitude of the authorities and the community with regard to sexual abuse of minors have turned Malaysia into a country where one can sexually abuse minors and get away with a mere slap on the hand. Richard Huckle got away with it and it was the British who uncovered it, much shame heaped on Malaysian authorities.
Under the present laws, the victims become further victimised when reports are made, when they are the ones taken into custody in the name of protection.
If we check the welfare homes, we will find victims of incest cases being placed there while their relatives who violated them being allowed scot free, some not even charged.
Some of them are placed there when they show rebellious sexual behaviour and this rebellion which is actually brought upon due to the incest are stated as the reason they need to be cooped up.
Then, we have minor rape victims being allowed by the Syariah Courts to marry their perpetrators, some of their perpetrators also being minors themselves.
We also have cases of teachers who are known to have sexually abused their wards to be merely transferred.
As for nannies and babysitters who sexually abuse those in their care, we hear very little of them being charged.
We also have cases where the female guardians have been the main reason where sexual abuse of minors have happened for years and yet these mothers or aunties or grandmothers were not charged for abetting the crime.
Then, we have the police also not being sensitive to p cases when reports are made, just because the crime has yet to take place, for example when a parent complains their daughter keeps getting harassing smses, or being stalked.
We also have our much lax attitude when it comes to sexual abuse of minor males, and as this usually takes place in hostels, the perpetrators are normally let off with warnings, or schools just sweep such cases under the carpet after internal inquiries.
Malaysia has all the proper laws in place to prevent child sexual abuse, but what is needed is to ensure that they are enforced and used in the right manner to protect the victims and catch the perpetrators.
What we lack, however, is a law that can work together with the present Child Act 2001 to prevent child sexual abuse before it even happens.
It is high time and is the right thing to do, for the laws in this country have too many loopholes when it comes to sexual abuse of minors.
The Star reported that Datuk Seri Azalina Othman is determined to push through a new law against child sexual abuse and has set herself an ambitious deadline.
“She said the way evidence was collected, how victims were handled and the burden of proof in such cases needed to be reviewed.
“You can make thousands of police reports but if you can’t convict, it doesn’t mean anything,” said the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“She has tasked herself with pushing the new law through next month when Parliament sits.
“We’re looking at the first draft and I still have to bring it to the task force, and then to the Cabinet for approval,” she said.
Azalina heads the Government’s new sexual crimes task force, set up after the Huckle case and the launch of The Star’s R.AGE’s Predator In My Phone documentary series which exposed multiple child sex predators through sting operations, reported The Star.
Although it is sad that it took the case of British Huckle and over 200 minor victims for the government to realise the importance of having such laws, it is of utmost importance that the government not only better the laws on this, but also ensure that the new laws works in tandem with the present laws.
The authorities must not politicise this and push this to be done as soon as possible as millions of children are either being sexually abused, being groomed to be abused or are potential victims of sexual abuse.